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  • The terraforming plant is a huge nuclear reactor, like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima station. With the cooling system ruined, the worst case should have been a meltdown. There were explosions at Fukushima and Chernobyl, but they weren’t nuclear explosions, nor was there risk of such. Nuclear bombs have a very different design and means of operation ESPECIALLY a thermonuclear bomb. Granted Nostromo exploded due to a similar situation, but it was explicitly a self destruct mechanism, and considering it blew up in several waves, it’s likely most of explosions were the cargo. Of course, this is The Company we’re dealing with here.
    • Canonically, the atmosphere processors are truly massive structures, the main cone alone having a height of a kilometer and half. The 1 Terawatt fusion reactor is there to power several gigantic plasma coils, which is where the atmosphere gets dissociated into its atomic componentes. I guess that much pressurized plasma would get very volatile if burning without control, and a big kaboom would be expected.

  • Where exactly did the Alien Queen come from? Was she the one who spawned all the other aliens, or did she only emerge from one of the drones after the infestation? Are the drones her siblings, or her children?
    • It’s hard to say how many of the Drones are hers and where she came from, but there are theories. Namely, one suggested in the novel and the EU is that Xenomorphs can produce royal jelly like insects to create a hive and they would supply it to an individual that would molt into a Queen. So one possible outcome is that the Queen is formed during the infestation and thus they would be a mix of siblings and spawn, since there were a lot of eggs on the Derelict. Another is that one of the eggs on board the Derelict could’ve housed a royal Face Hugger that appeared in the Assembly Cut of Alien 3 or a regular developed a Queen as in the theatrical cut of that film. A final, rare theory is that the egg for a Queen was made via transforming a colonist like the deleted scene from the first film, as the second and third films’ novelizations still referenced the scene as a theory that the Xenomorphs may use it for some purpose the Queen and eggs can’t fulfill.
  • I know the show was designed in a different era, and Rule of Scary took precedent, but still: autonomous androids, remote controlled space craft... they couldn’t recon the area around the reactor with drones / droids? You could argue the signal would be too weak, but keep in mind, they were able to stream full analogue video from helmet mounted cameras.
    • The whole mission seems to be viewed as routine by the marines. As a routine mission they didn't bring along expensive drones and droids and didn't bother to take unusual precautions, they just did an aerial recon and then sent in the squad for a look.
  • Why does Ripley say that Burke needs to go back to Earth when Hicks snaps and decides to kill him? They've already got a mountain of evidence that Burke and indirectly Weyland-Yutani are responsible for the loss of the colony, so what is the point in keeping the rat bastard alive? Especially after he's already cemented himself as being willing to kill the other survivors.
    • So he can face justice in a court and implicate the company that way. With Burke dead, no public trial would happen. The Company can blame everything on the conveniently deceased Burke and sweep their past actions under the carpet.
    • And if they kill him, what proof do they have that he was intending to kill them? With him dead, the company would be able to try and poke holes in the case. With him alive, they stood a better chance of getting their story believed.
    • And note that at the beginning of the film, Ripley went through the whole business of trying to prove something happened with no evidence. She's likely thinking of the Marines who - if they don't get horribly killed - could be facing all sorts of legal trouble if they don't have proof of what Burke did.
  • You'd think they'd have even a skeleton crew on the Sulaco just in case something happened.
    • And you'd think that the marines would be better at following orders (Drake and Vasquez notably disobey the chain of command and do their own thing when the aliens attack first). The whole situation is engineered by Burke getting an incompetent lieutenant put in charge so yes it's quite a faux pas in universe too. And with Word of God confirming that Drake and Vasquez at least are serving as an alternative to prison, there's reason to believe other marines in the unit could be such undesirables. So Gorman could be afraid of the second crew taking off and leaving them stranded on the planet if something went wrong. Keeping a second dropship as back-up that could be operated from the ground seemed to be his idea of a good compromise.
    • The fact that the troops are explicitly referred to as Colonial MARINES would suggest that the ship should be under the command of, and crewed by, whatever they call their Space Navy, unless we're to assume that the 11 enlisted (mostly infantry) troops, one android, and one officer are qualified in starship operation, interstellar navigation, and all of the administrative and logistical issues associated therewith. Even if that were the case, it still stretches belief that the Sulaco, an armed ship of war, is intended to be left in orbit unattended while ALL of the troops it carries are on the ground, conducting a Search and Rescue op that has a legitimate chance of becoming a COMBAT Search and Rescue, without Mission Control.
    • The Marine Corps higher-ups probably view this sort of mission as low-risk. The planet doesn't have any reported native life and it might just be a broken transmitter. If the marines are stretched thin in other conflicts then it makes sense to send an available ship with the minimum people necessary - one squad - and a green officer.
    • While most of this is down to Burke pulling the strings to make the mission go as badly as possible, don't forget that there wasn't necessarily a need for someone to be on the Sulaco. The second dropship could normally be summoned down with a transmitter that accidentally got destroyed in a bit of bad luck. Even so, they were still able to bring it down to the planet on remote pilot.
  • Why do the Weyland-Yutani suits disbelieve Ripley's story about the Xenomorphs when the previous movie established that the Company had foreknowledge about them?
    • They were pretending to disbelieve it. They needed to continue to maintain the facade that they didn't know about the Xenomorphs, however, they were upset that the colonists hadn't found the aliens yet and used Ripley's testimony to guide Newt's parents to it.
    • Not necessarily. Just because one ship in the company's employ was rerouted to pick up the aliens doesn't mean that everyone in the company's higher ups knew about it. Burke even says he wants to have exclusive rights to the aliens — which precludes the notion that everyone else on the board already knew about them. Most likely, maybe one or two people in the company suspected something about that planet, sent the Nostromo, then when it disappeared off the face of space, they wrote it off and forgot about it without telling anyone.
    • Considering how the attempt to have Ash and the Nostromo bring back an alien led to the destruction of a multi-million credit freighter, its entire human crew (apparently), a valuable synthetic, and the freighter's cargo, whomever originally approved the side-trip to look into that beacon's signal had ample reason to cover it up from his or her W-Y superiors. Failed schemes that cost the Company a fortune are grounds for termination.
    • And a ship disappearing without explanation is better grounds for an insurance claim than one being destroyed on a foray your people had ordered it to undertake. So even if the higher-ups at W-Y did find out what was going on, they'd have a multi-million-credit reason to keep quiet about it.
    • And it was 57 years ago. Everyone who was involved is probably dead, incriminating files were likely destroyed and the incident long forgotten about, as the creature they wanted never made it back to earth. Hence they subsequently colonized the planet and no one even knew the derelict craft was there until Ripley mentioned it.
    • From a thematic basis, it's actually quite ironic that such an evil deed was committed by what was probably a select group of people within the company,and after everything went sideways it was essentially forgotten. But for Me, It Was Tuesday indeed.
      • Technically, that's not totally true. In the novel Alien: River of Pain, which is considered canon, we find out that Weyland-Yutani secretly backed the colonization with the ulterior motive of discovering the derelict, and this information was only limited to a few scientists and officials stationed at the colony. They still knew there was some kind of alien presence on the moon, but because anyone who had ever previously discovered the ship either died or disappeared indefinitely, they didn't know exactly where on the planet it was. They were still actively looking for the ship until Ripley came back and finally confirmed its exact coordinates. Additionally, some of the short films for Alien: Covenant reveal that W-Y already had extensive knowledge on the Xenomorphs, their physiologies, and their capabilities years before the derelict's message was even detected because David the android sent out messages to the company's higher ups detailing his studies on the Engineer planet. So even though more than half a century has passed since then, it's not unreasonable to assume that the information on the Xenomorphs is still present but only limited to the company's highest authority.
      • That would be a Retcon then, not something established in the film. Considering only the film it's reasonable if not probable that the Company forgot the entire incident.
  • Okay, so the plan from Burke, and other W-Y execs later on, is to get someone "impregnated" with a Xenomorph embryo, then halt the embryo's progression with the freezer units. Except, we've seen various Xenomorphs function in a hard vacuum, where the temps would be even colder than in the sleep chambers. So, wouldn't a Xenomorph embryo still be quite capable of developing and exiting as a chest-burster even while the host was in suspended animation?
    • Space Is Cold
    • We don't know exactly how the hypersleep capsules work. They're called freezers, but that doesn't mean they work only through lowering someone's temperature. Indeed, they can't be just freezers, because sticking someone in a freezer will just kill them, not put them in hibernation. There are probably drugs involved as well, possibly different atmospheric mixes, etc. It might or it might not work on an alien embryo.
    • For what it's worth, the Expanded Universe shows that chestbursters can indeed mature in humans in hypersleep, albeit much more slowly. And those "freezers" were explicitly set "as low as they can go without killing" the humans.
    • And you're forgetting that they don't know the specifics of how the alien gestates. Ripley is the only living person with knowledge of it, and she wasn't the one studying it - Ash was. And also don't forget that Burke was originally going to just bring the facehuggers back to the company labs. But when Ripley busts him, he comes up with the last minute plan to impregnate her with the alien to keep her quiet. So he clearly didn't give it that much thought.
    • ^In the film, Ripley explains what she believes to be Burke's "master plan", but her cold delivery does not really convey how it's really a last-minute desperate plan to cover his ass and make some money. For another issue with it showing how it's not really well thought-out, his plan requires sabotaging the pods of all of the other marines. How exactly was he supposed to do this at all, much less do it without anyone noticing? As a civilian, he would be one of the first ones put under. If his plan somehow managed to work, wouldn't it be a little bit suspicious that the sleeping pods for *only* the actual marines strangely all failed? How does he handle Bishop?
      • Burke’s plan isn’t fully clear, but it’s worth noting that when Ripley suggested Burke was going to sabotage the Marines’ freezers, the Marines don’t respond with “pfft, how can he do that, we freeze civies first.” We all know how dominant the Company is in this universe, but that the Marines don’t even question this suggests that Burke is even more in control than is outright stated. He explicitly attempts to control the situation when Ripley suggests nuking the aliens. As for how suspicious it would look for him alone surviving, the Company wouldn’t care now that they have their very valuable samples.
  • The Weyland-Yutani execs say the only part of Ripley's story that they're able to confirm through the Nostromo's flight recorder is the stop they made at LV-426. So the Nostromo didn't have any cameras or microphones, on the bridge or elsewhere, that record to the flight recorder, like all modern ships are required to have?
    • The ship was old, maybe all of that malfunctioned at some point. Or W-Y lied in order to put all the blame on Ripley.
    • Ripley also mentions to Dallas that "we're blind on B and C decks" before they lift off LV-426. Dallas declines to have the repair made before they take off, because he just wants to get off the planet (understandably). So we know that at least some of Nostromo's recording gear was nonfunctional for the main events of the film.
    • In Alien: Isolation, the crew of the freighter Aniesadora wipe the flight data recorder to keep the company from getting their hands on the alien. You can find some fragments of its data scattered throughout the game, implying Weyland-Yutani knows somewhat what happened, but not the whole story.
    • Ash spent alot of time "collating" with MU-TH-UR, which Ripley found difficult to believe. While not every android in the Alien franchise has worked against humans, Ash was definitely under directions from the company. As the "medical officer" he could have re-written Kane's cause of death, omitted his analysis of the facehugger, and erased and references to the creature's presence in their records.
  • How did Burke manage to release the two live facehuggers from the lab to attack Ripley and Newt, on his own, without being attacked himself?
    • he could just loosen the lid enough that it is able to push the top off by itself while giving him time to run.
  • How do those rifles magazines carry 100 10mm rounds?
    • They are caseless rounds. Generally, the case is at least four times the volume of the bullet and is not even close to full of powder. So basically take a present day magazine and multiply its carrying capacity by 4.
    • For what it's worth, the Aliens Colonial Marines Technical Manual says the rounds are 10mm x 24, and that the clip holds the rounds in a "U-band" conveyor. Also that the clips carry only 99 rounds, and are usually loaded to 95 rounds to reduce jams.
    • “Caseless” doesn’t mean “without something behind the projectile.” Modern caseless weapons still use propellant. The only way for the assault rifles to truly work in-story, is they’d need to be rail / coil guns.
  • What does "We're in the pipe. Five by five." mean anyway?
    • In all likelihood "we're in the pipe" means they are on the correct descent trajectory to land safely, which is important given that reentry could very very easily rip their drop ship to pieces if they hit wrong or don't follow the correct path. Five-by-five could mean any one of several different "all good" conditions, including something as simple as comms are clear or as complex as 'there are no adverse crosswinds, weather conditions, interference patterns or anything else that should upset our descent'.
    • 'Five by five' is a communications term. Referring to the bars that represent a signal. Five bars means a full signal.
  • How is the alien queen able to get aboard the drop ship without crashing it, or at least without arousing suspicion? The ship is hovering in the air, and suddenly it has an extra 500kg of weight hanging off one side? And Bishop doesn't even notice?
    • The exploding atmospheric processing station was throwing a lot of debris around, including at the dropship. There's a quick insert where you can see (and hear) the landing gear straining to retract with lots of garbage on top of the skids before the dropship turns and leaves. Bishop probably thought the extra weight was all debris. Also, it's the landing gear well for the single skid in the back of the ship that the queen crawls into, which is roughly centered. An extra 500kg there wouldn't be as noticeable as on one of the front gear, which are to either side of the bay for the APC.
    • The dropship that went down from the Sulaco was built to carry eleven Marines, two civilians and all their weaponry. The one that's going back up is carrying just four people. So the queen's weight would balance it out probably.
  • Why so few marines? There was a problem at the company's billion dollar installation deep into space that was potentially serious, and Ripley's story about the alien must have been partially believed, so why were just a dozen marines and an android deemed sufficient to handle it?
    • There are a few possible explanations. First of all, the marines all treat this as strictly routine, so it can't be too unusual to send one undersized platoon to check out a faulty transmitter. Second, it's possible that the marines are stretched thin, and an undersized platoon is all that can be spared from more important operations. Third, like the crew of the Nostromo in the first movie, the implication is that humans have encountered hostile alien life forms before, but nothing as dangerous as this particular species. The marines call this a "bug hunt" as if they've been on them before and handled them just fine. Either other lifeforms they've found turned out to not be too dangerous to marines or they didn't exist at all when reports of them were investigated.
      • It's reasonable to assume that the marines have definitely met alien species before, not least because the dropship has the name "Bug Stomper" painted on it.
    • There is another possibility: According to the novelization, the company didn't want to front the money for a large scale mission. This means they only afforded enough for a small crew, which is what we see with the Sulaco. By doing so, this cut down the means of the Marines being able to destroy any possible specimens that the company could use. What they didn't expect was Ellen Ripley to get on board (which to them, they considered as a bonus, as they could tie off a loose end), suggesting that they nuke the site from orbit (think about, Vasquez recommended using nerve gas on the nest, which gets shot down because they didn't know if it would work, and Hudson suggested "bugging out and calling it even," which would have been the go-to option if Ripley hadn't been there). Combine the fact that the mission was underfunded with the addition of Burke, a lawyer who had no reason being there, it shows that the company was involved with trying to get another specimen. Having a smaller crew may cut down the risk of not being able to get one. And of course, Ripley threw another wrench into their plans.
  • Why is Bishop in hypersleep with the rest of the crew? In the first movie, we learn the company places synthetics on various ships without informing the crew of either their true nature, or their orders. Fast forward 57 years to Aliens, and Bishop was in hyper-sleep with the rest of the team. Why? Isn't the point of having a synthetic, sorry artificial person on board, to monitor the ship systems, its sleeping crew, and just keep an eye on things? Everyone knows Bishop is an android(except Ripley) so at some point while in the lifeboat, the practice of stealthily placing synthetics amoung human crews, was dropped. Yet, Bishop, is seen leaving a freezer as if to reassure everyone he is human. Burke even states the practice of using androids is standard and routine now. The only reason is to give Ripely a chance to flip out in the mess hall later on, when she learns what he is. 'Sleeping' with the rest of the team means he is no position to respond to any unforeseen problems that might arise during the trip to LV-426, which is one the main reasons for having one of his kind of board a starship in the first place. Only in the first movie, do we see the practice of deliberately placing synthetics on spaceships without informing the crew.
    • Originally James Cameron had planned to have a scene of Bishop awake on the Sulacco alone monitoring the ship and crew at faster-than-human speeds. During filming he worked out the knife-game scene with Lance Henriksen and decided he liked that better. In-universe, it might be an attempt to build camaraderie between the humans and their android. It would be much easier to think of Bishop as part of the team if he goes to sleep with the rest of them, instead of creepily staying awake for months watching them sleep.
    • Which leads to a related question. Did Burke deliberately omit to inform Ripley about Bishop, to gauge her reaction when does learn? The off-hand manner in which he apologizes, and then gives the company line about Ash having 'malfunctioned', seems to imply he may? have kept Bishops identity from Ripley intentionally.
      • Burke may in fact have forgotten that Ripley would have a bad reaction to the news that a synthetic was on board, and it does seem to be standard practice to include one (none of the Marines seem to find it unusual in any way). He gives the line about Ash malfunctioning because that's the official Company line, and he's a Company spokesman. No need to go into unpleasant details with the Marines.
    • How do we know Bishop wasn't in his own specially designed cryopod? Ash was in one in the first film.
  • The scene with the motion trackers picking up the hamsters is a great early fake-out, but how have those hamsters survived up to this point? The only logical explanation is that Newt has been risking her life on a near-daily basis simply to keep them fed, watered and cleaned out, without bothering to take them back to her hiding place.
    • Or there may be some form of automation in the cage. It is the future.
  • Why do the xenomorphs just put all the "used" host bodies in a pile to rot rather than eating them? Seems like a huge waste. I've heard the theory that they don't actually kill humans for food but more to guard their territory, however we see the Alien in Alien 3 eating someone so I'm confused.
    • For what it's worth, the latest Alien RPG says that the people put in the walls are somehow slowly dissolved by the hive and provide nutrition for all the aliens occupying it.
      • That would actually make a lot of sense regarding the Xenos, they secrete that resin, which in turn would also be mildly acidic, hence why the bodies of the chestburster victims look so messed up, the resin softens them up so their inner mouths can drink up the resulting slurry, kind of hard to eat solid food, when your tongue takes up most of your mouth and also has a mouth.
    • Gauging by how the alien is able to grow in the first film, perhaps they can survive on regular food as well (it's implied that one grew after eating some of the rations the Nostromo crew had). So they might not need the humans for food in the colony. The one in the third film gestates in a prison with limited facilities, so we could assume it had to take whatever it could get.
  • So, for 20 whole years, the crashed engineer ship has remained undetected, despite 1) the thing is freaking huge and 2) there have been people there for 20 years, judging by the conversation in the little buggy thing between Newt and her family, they weren't that far out, a few hours at least, maybe a day or so out at most, how exactly did nobody find it before Newts family?

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